Porous Polyetheretherketone Interbody Cages for Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion at 3 or More Levels: Clinical and Radiographic Outcomes

Int J Spine Surg. 2023 Apr;17(2):215-221. doi: 10.14444/8410. Epub 2022 Oct 3.


Background: Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) at 3 or more levels remains challenging, with reported high pseudarthrosis rates and implant-related complications. Porous surface polyetheretherketone (PEEK) interbody cages are newer implants for ACDF with limited data available for their use in ACDF procedures at 3 or more levels. The objective of this study was to assess the clinical and radiographic outcomes of porous PEEK devices for ACDF at 3 or more levels.

Study design: Retrospective case series.

Methods: Consecutive patients who underwent primary ACDF for degenerative cervical disc disease at 3 or more levels with porous PEEK cages with anterior plate instrumentation were included. Clinical outcome scores, radiographic parameters, pseudarthrosis rates, and cage subsidence rates were assessed. Preoperative and postoperative clinical outcomes and radiographic measures were compared using paired t tests.

Results: A total of 33 patients with ACDF at 3 or more levels with porous PEEK cages were included, with minimum 1-year follow-up. Two patients had cage subsidence (6.1%), and 1 patient had pseudarthrosis (3.0%). There were significant postoperative increases in overall cervical lordosis, sagittal vertical axis, fusion segment lordosis, T1 slope, and disc height. Clinical outcomes showed significant improvement from the preoperative visit to the final postoperative follow-up.

Conclusions: High rates of fusion (97.0%) were observed in this challenging patient cohort, which compares favorably with previously published rates of fusion in ACDF at 3 or more levels.

Clinical relevance: The optimal management of cervical spinal pathology regarding approach, technique, and implants used is an active area of ongoing investigation. The high levels of radiographic and clinical success utilizing a relatively novel implant material in a high-risk surgical cohort reported here may influence surgical decision making.

Keywords: ACDF; cervical spine; fusion; multilevel; outcomes; porous PEEK.